Friday, October 25, 2013

ASL and Language Development

By now almost everyone with a child has heard of "Baby Signs."  It's really an amazing thing.  If you are thinking about learning some signs, please do.  I'll tell you a little bit about my kids.

I remember a few months ago being in the train station with the boys and Jeff started wailing for no known reason.  Derek asked him what he wanted and he put one finger to his lips which is his sign for "water."  We gave him his water bottle and he calmed down immediately.  I remember saying to Derek, "Imagine how much more screaming there would be if he couldn't tell us what he wanted!"

Don't get me wrong, my kids are full of screams.  My poor neighbors.  I feel bad for them.  At 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (and many of the hours in between) our home often has at least one person screaming.  Sometimes it's a baby...sometimes it's me.

The boys are 19 months now and so many things about their language fascinates me.
  • I love that they are starting to put two and three signs together.  I get sentences like "Dad sleep" and "More banana please." 
  • The boys now hear me talking English and pick up on things even when I'm not talking to them.  If I say things to another person like "I need to get a haircut" they will point to their hair or if I say I'll be going outside later they start signing "shoes" which is their way of getting ready to go out.
  • Aaron kept trying to steal my glasses one day a few weeks ago.  I signed that the glasses were mine and he can't take them about fifty times.  By the next day he knew the sign for glasses.  It amazed me that I could almost see the process of him learning new words!
  • Over the last few weeks I have been able to ask the boys, "Do you want milk or water?" and they can always answer me clearly with signs.  
  • In September we were in the airport and there were three people in chairs two of who were asleep.  Aaron kept pointing to the two who had their eyes closed and signed "sleep."
  • Jeff can tell me when he wants me to get him socks, read a book, hear our Mickey Mouse doll sing, our Tigger doll to jump, and sit in his highchair.
  • I recently was looking at a new book with some animals and both boys were able to sign most of the animals.  It shocked me because the pictures were new and the pigs, cows, dogs, etc. didn't look exactly like the animals we saw in other books.  They boys were able to identify the animals anyway.
  • The boys are also extremely good with puzzles.  I'm no expert in child development, but I think they started doing puzzles much earlier than average and I believe it has to do with the fact that they are learning a visual-spatial language.  Regardless of the actual reason, I'm pretty impressed by their puzzle skills.
Aaron can now say "bye" pretty easily and will sometimes say "hi."  Although he always say "bye" after I hang up with grandparents or after we leave the room.  He doesn't quite get the concept of saying "bye" to a person which makes me laugh.  Both boys are starting to copy our speech a little more.  It's cute to listen to their funny pronunciations of words like "doggie" and "rainbow."  Although I'm excited to hear their voices developing, I love watching their little hands fly as they get excited seeing fire trucks drive by or notice an apple in the fruit bowl.  I'm trying to teach them to sign "I love you."  We're getting close.  I'm sure when I see it on their tiny hands it'll be a moment I remember.     

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Case of The Pee Pee Diaper

Remember those old Encyclopedia Brown mysteries that were popular when we were kids?  Yesterday I became a sleuth like that boy detective.  I figured out The Case of the Pee Pee Diaper

The boys and I had a pretty good day yesterday.  They took a long nap and woke up in a relatively good mood.  I got them out of their cribs and managed to change their diapers before giving them a snack.  Neither one of them put up much of a fuss getting his diaper changed.

We had a snack of yogurt and graham crackers.  Aaron was supsicious of the yogurt and only wanted it after I ate some.  I guess he thinks he's a king and I'm his beefeater who tests for poison.  Jeff enjoyed his yogurt and got it all over his face and giggled in the usual Jeff fashion.

I asked the boys if they wanted me to set up their new toy - a big canvas bus - so they could run through it and pretend to drive.  They nodded yes.  Jeff grabbed a knob on a kitchen drawer like a steering wheel and pretended to drive by spinning the wheel.  Adorable!

The boys ran through the bus, played the keyboard and threw some balls around the house for a while.  I spent a few minutes checking emails on my phone, cleaning up the dishes from snack and putting away some toys. 

Then I saw it.  A diaper in the middle of the hallway.

Hmmm...what is going on?  I had no idea how this diaper had suddenly appeared.  I assumed one of the boys had pulled a clean diaper from a drawer and thrown it on the ground.  When I picked it up I noticed that the diaper was filled with pee.  I was so confused what had happened.  Maybe it was from the lack of sleep.  (Thanks to a sleepless boy *cough-Aaron-cough* I didn't get to bed utnil after 1:00 a.m. and I was up at 4:45 a.m.) 

I threw away the diaper and didn't think much of it.

A little while later Jeff found a new game.  He took one of his chairs and put a sippy cup filled with water on the chair.  He would then tilt the chair to a side and watch the cup roll off and fall to the ground.  This game, apparently, is fascinating to an 18 month old.  It's also fascinating for an 18 month old to watch.  So fascinating, in fact, that Aaron, after watching for a few minutes, had to join in.  Aaron grabbed a chair and a sippy cup and started doing the same thing. 

Sippy cups are pretty good about not spilling, but if the cup falls on the floor over and over again the stopper will come out.  Jeff's stopper came out first and water spilled all over the floor.  A minute or two later Aaron's stopper came out.  I noticed that because his little, light grey sweatpants had a streak of wetness down one leg.  Since there was only about an hour until pajama time it wasn't worth fighting him to change pants especially because this game was making him so happy.

We ate dinner a little late.  Aaron and Jeff tried orzo for the first time.  Jeff dug in and Aaron was suspicious for a while of this newfangled food.  Aaron enjoyed the cheese on the orzo and eventually realized it was fun to mix his peas with his cheesey orzo.  By the end of dinner there was nothing left in his bowl.  Everything got into his tummy or had fallen into his lap. 

Now, fellow sleuths, see if you can figure out what happened before continuing to read.

At about 6:30 it was time to change into pajamas.  I changed Jeff first and put him into cute pirate pajamas and tried to teach him the sign for "pirate."  When that was done I grabbed Aaron and pulled off his pants only to be surprised he had no diaper!!! 

I believe Aaron managed to pull at the tape of his diaper enough to loosen or unfasten it.  He then must have pulled the front part of diaper so hard that he got it through his legs and off his body.  The wet streak on his right pant leg wasn't water from the sippy was pee.  His right sock was wet too. Ugh!

After a quick "bath" with a few wipes he was good as new and wearing my favorite cowboy pajamas.  This time, however,  I made sure that the diaper tabs were on securely and the pajama pants were pulled up enough to cover the diaper completely.  I wasn't going to take any chances.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Too Many Pictures

I wrote about all my pictures a while ago and after just 18 months I have too many pictures.  My dream of having actual photographs for my kids to touch has just not come true.  I have learned that Shutterfly is much faster, easier, and more practical than my lofty dream of beautiful photo albums with pictures I have printed and lovingly arranged in an album.  Plus, Shutterfly books will probably last longer.  My photo albums from 30 years ago are all faded and the pictures don't stick becasue the glue has dried.  Hopefully I'll have a few special albums with actual pictures, but I think Shutterfly will be seeing a lot of my money over the years. 

Also, I finally gave up and decided to just post my videos online.  My goal was to find a way to load them onto a DVD and make a keepsake for my kids.  Once again, reality took over and the internet won.  At least now my family and friends can see the videos any time they want. 

However, if anyone has a good method for keeping track of pictures and videos and not getting overwhelmed by them please, please, please share them with me.  I'd love to have a good system.  Thank goodness for Shutterfly and YouTube apps on phones...but other options would be appreciated.

I don't share a ton of pictures on this blog, but since this posting is about pictures and videos, I'll share a few of my favorites over the last 18 months.  You know how families have some iconic photos that everyone knows?  Well, here are some of the "famous" or "infamous" pictures in no particular order...